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The Pyes’ pyrite nightmare


SHOW OF SUPPORT Louise and Joe Pye are hoping large numbers show up to next Tuesday’s pyrite protest in Dublin.

Foxford couple to join thousands at Dublin protest next week

Michael Gallagher

On Tuesday next, thousands of people from Mayo and Donegal will converge on Dublin to tell the government how badly they need help. In the middle of the crowd will be Louise and Joe Pye. It’s the last place they want to be. They’d much rather be back in Foxford working in their businesses, styling hair or putting tyres on rims, but they’ve been left with no choice.
In 2002 the Pyes followed their dream to Foxford, but that fantasy has now become a clinging, clawing, crumbling nightmare. The previously bubbly couple should be getting ready to relax after decades of hard work, but now they’re facing into huge debt, uncertainty and life in a caravan. Dreams don’t usually turn out like that.
“My parents had moved back from England and Joe and I followed them in 2002. We bought our beautiful house while it was still a shell and put a huge amount of money into finishing it. Now, we have to start all over again,” Louise told The Mayo News as preparations for Saturday’s mass protest continued all around her.
“I hope and pray the people of Mayo go to Dublin next Tuesday to support us. We have buses laid on, thanks to generous sponsors, but we need big numbers to show how truly desperate we are,” the well-known hair-stylist added.
The Pye’s home is one of the many impacted by pyrite. The cracks which emerged a few years ago are getting bigger by the day and their once idyllic life is now filled with worry, tension and confusion.
“There’s no beginning and no end to this disaster. It’s a ferris-wheel and when it gets to the end, it starts up again. It just doesn’t make sense,” Louise stated before describing one of the many challenges facing the family.
“I’ve had three builders quote me to rebuild the house, but now one of them came back to me this week to say the quote he gave me no longer stands because the price of materials has shot through the roof.
“To start with, the quotes were above the top amount the government say they’ll give us and now that’s blown out of the water altogether. What are we going to do? We need help from the government but all they do is fob us off. They say they’re giving us 90 percent of our costs but that’s an absolute lie. They’re just giving us 90 percent of the new blocks and the plaster and some of the work. We’ll be left with a huge bill.

Regulations ‘laughable’
“The regulations they’ve laid down are laughable. They want us to take all our tiles off the roof by hand, clean them and put them aside. Remove all the wood that’s holding up the roof and put that to one side, before the builders come in to knock the house and start to rebuild it.
“So, who’s going to do all that and then try to put the wood back on the walls and the tiles back on the new roof. They won’t go back on properly and even if they do, half them will split because they’re 20 years-old and not supposed to be messed around like that. Those tiles cannot be bought any more so we’ll end up with oddball tiles all over my roof. What are these people thinking about? It’s only when you start digging into it that you see the absolute farce of this whole thing.
“We now have to start reapplying for planning permission for a house that’s already there - that’s another €3,000. It’s going to cost a minimum €30,000 to get my house demolished and removed. We also have to pay an engineer to come out and oversee the whole build and that could be €10,000.
“We’re not allowed claim off the house insurance, we’re not allowed claim off the quarry where these defective blocks came from, and the government just fob us off. I’m bemused.
“They cancelled my insurance in March, so now, not only is my house falling down around me if I was to have a fire or a flood or if we were to get burgled we’ve got nothing – they won’t insure us,” she added desperately.
The only light at the end of the tunnel is Tuesday’s protest. Louise and many like her are hoping and praying the people of Mayo turn out and support the pyrite group on the streets of Dublin.
“It’s a chance to show them that we won’t give up and that we have huge support behind us.”
Anyone wanting to travel to Dublin for Saturday’s protest should contact the Facebook page of the North Mayo Pyrite Group.